Fishing Tips for Using Open Face Reels

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Instructor: RJ Boyle

In The Spread fishing videos discuss open face reels and their inherent problems. Open face reels are preferred by tournament anglers due to level wind resistance. However, novices and seasoned crews should be aware of these features and practice to build confidence.

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This In The Spread fishing tackle video provide keen insight and advice on how to improve your fishing program. This fishing tips video features RJ Boyle discussing the use of open face reels and the inherent problems that can arise, if you are not dialed in on their use. The major difference between an open face reel and the normal “conventional” reel is that there in nothing to keep the line within the reel structure. There is no level wind feature. Most tournament anglers prefer the open face because of the lack of resistance created by the level wind. These reels are really not for the novice angler or crews that are not seasoned. The open face reel is typically used by dredge fishing tournament anglers and require a little more attention to detail. It is that detail that can cause real problems, if you are not experienced in the use of these reels. The big thing you have to watch out for is the wind blowing the line off the reel and getting wrapped around the reel. This can be catastrophic. Now, if you are a seasoned angler, the open face is the better option. Get out and try them. Use is what builds experience and the more experience yo have the more confidence you possess. This style of reel is really not that difficult to use. All it takes is a little practice.

Beyond Level Wind

  • Advantage: As mentioned, no level wind means zero resistance on the line, leading to smoother casts and less line drag. This translates to increased casting distance and sensitivity, crucial for dredge fishing where subtle bites matter.
  • Challenge: However, the lack of a level wind requires constant awareness and active line management. Strong winds can easily tangle the line around the spool, causing frustration and missed opportunities.

Open Face Mastery

  • Experience Matters: While not impossible for beginners, open face reels shine in the hands of experienced anglers. They have honed the hand-eye coordination and reflexes needed to keep the line in check, even in windy conditions.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Don't be discouraged if your first attempts are messy. Dedicate time to practicing casting, retrieving, and managing the line in different wind conditions. Muscle memory is your friend!

Taming the Wind

  • Thumb Control: Learn to feather your thumb on the line as you cast to prevent overruns. Apply gentle pressure when the line approaches the spool to slow it down.
  • Line Choice: Braided lines with their minimal stretch offer better control compared to monofilament, especially in windy conditions.
  • Adjust the Spool Tension: Most open face reels have adjustable spool tension knobs. Fine-tune the tension to find the sweet spot between free spool for casting and enough resistance to prevent windblown tangles.

More Than Just Dredge Fishing

While dredge fishing often gets the spotlight, open face reels can be effective in other situations too:

  • Light Lure Fishing: Their sensitivity makes them ideal for finesse presentations with small jigs and flies.
  • Skipping Baits: The lack of level wind allows for skipping baits under docks and other tight cover.
  • Ice Fishing: The simple design excels in cold weather environments where intricate mechanisms can freeze up.

Remember: Open face reels demand more attention and practice than their conventional counterparts. But for experienced anglers seeking ultimate casting performance and sensitivity, mastering them can be incredibly rewarding. So, if you're up for the challenge, grab an open face reel and hit the water. With dedication and the right techniques, you might just unlock a new level of fishing expertise.

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